(305) 600-2669
  • FREE EVALUATION
  • WE GET PAID IF YOU GET PAID
Our 30 Years of Experience
will ensure
full

indemnity

Guardian Adjusting Blog
Tips and information on all types of property damage claims.

 

Broken Pipes

Rick Tapanes - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Broken Pipe? Act Fast

If there is a broken pipe in your property, you should act right away. The amount of money that your insurance company will pay can be affected by how engaged you are in the maintenance of your property and in the claim process. A broken pipe can wreak havoc on a home or place of business if not detected early, or if it is ignored. If mold sets in there will be whole other set of issues to deal with. The sooner you contact a public adjuster and get your claim filed, the better.

Many insurance companies are not forthcoming when it comes to broken pipe policies. For this reason, it is important to hire a public insurance adjuster who will perform an independent inspection, document the details of your damage, file your claim and deal with your insurance company directly. Furthermore, a good public insurance adjuster will put you in contact with reputable contractors that can perform the repairs that will get your property back to its pre-damage state. Finally, a public adjuster will appeal a claim if necessary and even represent you in court if it comes to that.

Once a broken pipe has been confirmed, call your public adjuster. To stop the water from continuing to enter the property you may require the services of a water remediation company. The water remediation company will work to remove all the water and moisture from your property, including moisture that has been absorbed by floors, walls and furniture. This is vital in stopping the spread of the damage.

After these steps are taken, your public adjuster should continue the property inspection to uncover all the damage, especially any mold or corrosion that has begun to settle in. These two forms of damage can spread if not addressed, even after all water has been removed. The remediation company can also perform an initial mold treatment to stop it from spreading.

The public adjusters at Guardian Adjusting Services have over 100 years of combined experience helping South Florida property owners with their water damage claims. They are experts at uncovering hidden damage and submitting detailed and accurate claims that will help to maximize your settlement. Water damage can be an ongoing issue if not addressed properly from the start. Guardian Adjusting Services will be with you every step of the way. Call us today to learn how we can help.

Property Insurance

Rick Tapanes - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Homeowner’s Insurance Basics

You have brought your dream house, now it’s time to buy homeowner’s insurance coverage to protect what may be one of the largest investments you make in your lifetime. How much coverage do you need? What is covered? What will it cost? What are riders? Keep reading to learn the basics of buying insurance for your new home.

Determine Coverage

The first step in buying insurance coverage is determining how much you need. Instead of market value, insurance company’s use the homes rebuild cost to determine the price of the coverage. It makes sense because a damaged home will be repaired, not replaced. Depending on where you live, the home may require flood insurance. This is not included in homeowners’ insurance policies and must be purchased separately.

Included in a homeowner’s insurance policy is coverage for the contents, or your possessions. The typical amount of coverage is 75% of the home’s insurance value. There are also usually limits on the coverage for certain high value items. If you own expensive jewelry or collectibles, for instance, you may want to consider additional coverage for those. You will also want to inventory all of your possessions in the event of a claim. Take photographs or a video of all of the rooms in your home to document your possessions and put receipts for expensive items in a safe place. This will save you a lot of grief later if you need to prove what was damaged or destroyed to your insurance company.

Shopping for a Quote

A good as place as any to start comparing property insurance quotes is with your existing auto insurance company. Some, but not all, insurance companies offer multiple types of coverage. You may find that your auto insurance company will give you a good price if you bundle in your homeowner’s insurance with your existing auto coverage. Next, contact an independent insurance agent. Generally, independent agents are registered with, and can sell policies from, several different companies. This is a great way to quickly compare various quotes.

However you approach it, you will want to get quotes from at least three companies. Compare prices and take a look at reviews from existing customers. One or two bad reviews might indicate disgruntled customers who decided to vent online. It is better to get a broader idea of customer satisfaction by looking at many ratings and reading several reviews, both positive and negative.

Escrow

Many homeowners prefer to include their insurance premium in their mortgage payment. This can be easily set up with your mortgage company and is usually preferred by the bank as it gives them assurance that the property is covered. On a side note, you can include your property taxes in your mortgage payment as well. This allows you to write one check a month instead of three.

Glossary

Here are a few terms you should become familiar with when shopping for homeowners insurance:

Deductible – This refers to the amount you must pay for any repairs before the insurance company pays for the rest. For instance, if your deductible is $1000 and you property suffers $5000 worth of damage, you will pay $1000 and the insurance company will pay the remaining $4000. Deductibles are yearly, so you only pay your deductible once in any given year even if you experience another loss later that year. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance payments will be.

Liability Coverage – This type of insurance covers medical and legal costs if a person is hurt in your home or on your property.

Premium – This is the cost of your insurance coverage. It is typically paid in monthly installments.

Rider – This is an additional policy that is in purchased alongside a homeowner’s policy to cover specific, usually valuable items in the home. Riders can be purchased for things like expensive antiques, or artwork.

Insurance Fraud

Rick Tapanes - Monday, December 28, 2015

Insurance Fraud Costs Insurers and the Insured

According to the FBI, insurance fraud is estimated to be over $40 billion dollars each year. That number does not include health insurance fraud. Property insurance fraud accounts for about $32 billion of that. Five to ten percent of all insurance claims paid are fraudulent and one third of insurance companies say that number is closer to 20% for them. According to these estimates, insurance fraud costs the average American family anywhere from $400 to $700 every year.

Insurance Fraud Takes Many Forms

Fraudulent insurance claims can range anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars. Property insurance claims can take many forms. Below are some of the most common insurance fraud schemes insurance companies deal with.

  • Intentional damaging of property to make an insurance claim on it.
  • Overestimating the costs of lost or damaged property on an insurance claim.
  • Overstating the extent of damages on an insurance claim.
  • Staging a fake robbery to file a claim on stolen property.
  • Asking a repair company to inflate their bill to cover the insurance deductible.
  • Forging evidence like repair bills in support of a property damage claim.

Insurance Fraud Red Flags

Insurance companies now use computer software that analyses statistics to red flag claims that need to be investigated further. Insurance adjusters are also trained to identify these red flags that often point to fraudulent claims. Here are just some of the behaviors and circumstances that may point to a suspicious claim.

  • Absence of the insured at the time that an incident occurs. If there is no good reason why the entire family and the pets were out of the house when it burned down, the insurance company will investigate further.
  • The insured is recently divorced or separated. This is not unusual but combined with other factors it may cause the insurance company to dig deeper.
  • Serious financial difficulties on the part of the insured. Recent foreclosure or bankruptcy may be cause for further investigation of the claim.
  • The insured pushes for a quick settlement. Some people just want to get their property fixed quickly, but if the insured is particularly adamant about speeding up the process to get their money, it may warrant scrutiny.
  • An unusual amount of familiarity with insurance terms and processes on the part of the insured.
  • Claims that are filed shortly after insurance coverage begins or is increased.
  • The damaged or destroyed property was up for sale or very recently purchased.

The Law in Florida

In Florida insurance fraud is a felony. The severity of the crime is directly tied to the amount of the fraudulent claim or claims. Fraud in excess of $100,000 is a first degree felony and a defendant could face jail time as well as fines. A recent, extreme Florida case involved a ring of 22 people that hit insurance companies for $7.6 million over nine years. Some members of the ring acted as recruiters that would approach homeowners that might be willing to cooperate in the schemes. Homes and other properties were intentionally flooded or set on fire and the fraud ring would receive 20% to 30% of the settlement. The ring leader is facing 30 years in prison for arson, forgery, grand theft and racketeering.

Insurance fraud is a crime that affects anyone that buys insurance. Luckily it is taken seriously by law enforcement and efforts continue to curb the costs to insurance companies and society as a whole.

Roof Leaks and Water Damage

Rick Tapanes - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Does Your Policy Cover Roof Leaks?

When it comes to water damage, homeowners’ insurance policies become a bit complicated and specific. Damage from flood waters, which insurance companies define as being caused by rising water from an existing body of water entering a property, requires a seperate flood policy to cover it. Conversely, if your living room becomes “flooded” by rain water coming in through a leaky roof, a flood insurance policy won’t help. The majority of property insurance claims are for water related events, yet most policyholders do not have a clear understanding of what water damage they are covered for.

The first thing to do is review your property insurance coverage to understand exactly what is and is not covered. Talk to your insurance agent or a public adjuster at Guardian Adjusting. Your public adjuster can identify any holes in your coverage and make sure that you are ready for any eventuality.

Perform Regular Maintenance

The typical homeowner’s insurance policy will cover water damage caused by accidental events. The most common reason for a denial of a water claim is neglect and failure to perform regular maintenance. So, imagine that a storm brings a large amount of rain with it and suddenly your roof starts leaking in several places. Some furniture and drywall is damaged and a large portion of the carpet and floor becomes soaked. The next morning your insurance company’s adjuster gets up on your roof where she finds no visible damage. There are no roof tiles blown off by the wind or damage from a tree branch that hit the roof. The insurance company’s stance will be that the damage is due to negligence and failure to properly maintain the roof, which is the homeowner' responsibility. Similarly, any water coming in to the property through a leaky pipe or crack in the wall falls to the homeowner to prevent through routine maintenance.

Other things you may have trouble securing a claim for are improperly installed plumbing fixtures that leak, and malfunctioning appliances like refrigerators, ice makers and air conditioners. All of these items require maintenance and sometimes replacement and will not be covered by the majority of homeowners’ insurance policies.

On the other hand, you may be surprised to learn that damage resulting from these leaky roofs, walls and appliances is often covered. So, although your insurance company is not going to fix your roof, it is likely that your policy covers damage to floors, and furniture due to those leaks.

The best advice is to know what your property is covered for before the damage hits. Maintain a relationship with a public adjuster from Guardian Adjusting to stay on top of your insurance coverage and for the peace of mind of knowing that they will be there in an emergency to protect your interests.

Flood Insurance

Rick Tapanes - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Do Not Overlook Flood Damage Coverage

In insurance terms, a flood is caused by water from a rising body of water entering a property. Not considered flooding are things like water from a broken pipe or rain coming through a leaky roof. The distinction is important because it means that your property insurance policy will not cover you from losses from a flood. Flood damage coverage requires its own separate policy. In South Florida it is advisable to have flood insurance coverage whether or not your property is in a designated flood zone.

NFIP

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was put in place in 1968 to allow property owners to obtain insurance protection for flood damage to their property. Managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NFIP also encourages communities to adopt and enforce flood management regulations, especially to reduce flood risks in new development and construction. This program was started because property owners in some areas where literally unable to purchase flood insurance from a commercial insurance company and to reduce the costs of Federal disaster relief. Today NFIP is the only option for flood insurance for property owners.

Public Adjusters and Flooding

Even though The National Flood Insurance Program is managed by the government, it doesn’t mean you should overlook hiring a public adjuster if you have experienced property flooding. You still want an advocate to help you get the settlement you deserve and to help you get your property dried out and once again usable. A public adjuster will perform a thorough inspection of your property to insure that all of the damage is identified and included in your claim. Your public adjuster can arrange for a dry out company to get the water out of your property.

A public adjuster will work with you every step of the way, documenting damage, preparing the insurance claim, repairing your property and securing your settlement. Guardian Adjusting Services has the best public adjusters in Florida. They have over 100 years of combined experience and will work tirelessly to get you the highest settlement possible and get your property repaired. Call us today to set up a consultation and be ready in the event of flood damage in the future.


         
Contact Us for a
FREE Claim Review or Call Us: (305) 600-2669